OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Life erasing

In youth and early adulthood, we add; in later years, life erases.  Kids grow up and move elsewhere; vigor depletes; living spaces are downsized; mementoes once meaningful are discarded into a trash heap of forgotten memories; and health deteriorates, with diminution of lives by incremental depreciation both in appearance, worth and human value.

Life erasing is the natural decomposition of matter; the energy that we expended in bringing up our kids has now been complete, and transference of that vigor has become a permanent fixture.

Somehow, what we gave never seems to be enough, and no matter how much we tried, loved, cared for and nurtured, that part of all has separated and journeyed away, never to be sought in unenlightened venues of thoughtless abandonment.  It is as if life reaches its pinnacle, as the arc of never-ending geometric feats of engineering and technological defiance; and then it tapers, becomes warped and disappears into the far horizon.  What ever happened to those youthful dreams once embraced, promised, forever committed to, and now a dash of trailing dust left behind like so many of life’s erasing features?

Medical conditions and deteriorating health tends to symbolize that; for, as one reaches the pinnacle of an incomplete life (is it every complete, even at the point of oblivion, and do we not hang on for a moment more?), the tawdry reality is that we fear the vanishing of all that we have surrounded ourselves with, because we do not walk about this world with a mirror to appease our own insecurities.

Isn’t that why people amass great wealth; invoke power-plays to demand and command loyalty; hoard possessions as if they reflected quantifiable worth; and apply every cosmetic trick into believing that appearance of youth is the same as easing life’s erasing by concealing the decay beneath?  Why is it that such a natural deterioration is fought against, when the peaceful calm of wisdom tells us that life erasing is the easing of burdens amassed in youth and adulthood, and thus to be enjoyed?

Life erasing means that responsibilities garnered previously have now been alleviated, but instead of accepting that natural digression, we buy into the advertising colonnade that age is merely of deceptive appearances and a “mind set” that can be averted merely by acting more foolishly, accepting cosmetic alterations by stretching the wrinkles away, and taking on greater obligations for self-aggrandizement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beset with medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal employee from extending a career chosen, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement is actually an acceptance of the natural course of life erasing – by the proverbial course of “downsizing”, of recognizing the medical conditions impacting one’s life and pursuing Federal Disability Retirement so that life’s erasing can attain a level of focus upon a priority long ignored:  Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Scoffing paradigms

Of course, such a title can have a double entendre or duality of meanings – that, in the first instance, the accent is upon the word “scoffing” with a lowering of one’s voice upon “paradigms”, and that would mean: One turns up one’s nose at the very idea of paradigms. Or, alternatively, if both words are of equally monotonous tonal undulations, then it could mean that the paradigm itself is one which scoffs at other paradigms, differing principles or contrary perspectives.

As to the first: There are those in life who declare that paradigms are unnecessary, and one needs to simply live life, take things as they come and forget about being able to comprehend “first principles” or other such nonsense. Indeed, that is the bestial side of humanity; animals and all other species live like that, and as the evolutionary perspective has won out and we are left with nothing but the biological counterview of life, so why not us as well in consonance with the rest of the universe?

The second meaning would presume the opposite: for, in order for a superiority of belief-systems beyond modernity’s feeble attempt at generalized equivalence of all such systems, there needs be certain paradigms that are objectively prioritized in significance, importance and relevance of application. In either meanings, while the emphasis upon the direction of the scoffer may differ, the central concept of “paradigms” remains throughout and consistently becomes elevated and magnified as the primary root cause.

Modernity has a dual problem (and many more, besides): On the one hand, nobody any longer believes in grand systems of philosophical import; thus, the Hegels, Kants and Heideggers of yesteryear will not become reincarnated in current or future times, unless there is a wholesale exchange of mindsets. On the other hand, we still cling to a tribal mentality – of wanting and needing to belong to a group that espouses illogical biases and discriminatory tendencies, if only to have some semblance of an identity unique from others; and so we embrace, by unconscious fiat or otherwise estranged ignorance, paradigms that we neither understand nor take the time to comprehend, but instead join in and defend by means of keeping company with other such ignoramuses.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, what becomes quickly evident during the process is that the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Facility will suddenly become encamped and invested in one paradigm, and you in an altogether different paradigm, and then the scoffing begins.

The Federal Disability Retirement applicant (you) are no longer amongst the “for the mission of the agency” paradigm, and you end up being a member of that “other” paradigm whether you like it, choose to, or not. Thus do you participate in the vicious cycle of scoffing paradigms, in either sense of the terms, without even knowing it. Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Minding the ‘happiness principle’

Is there such a thing?  Certainly, enough authors, gurus and faith-healers have claimed it, packaged it and sold it as a commodity to be prepared, marketed and purchased.  Somehow, we are all gullible enough to believe in it:  Just as sorcerers of old possessed powers beyond human comprehension, so we hold on to the hope that such secrets of soothsayers mixing the concoction in a cauldron of expectations may boil over with fumes and aromas we can smell into oblivion.

That secret incantation; those mysterious sequence of codes (yes, which is why the Da Vinci Code was so popular – until it was made into a movie and the audience realized the farcical nature when bad literature is transformed into an ever worse media script); or perhaps it is a deal of Faustian proportions – of one’s soul for the hidden principle, the fountain of youth, the corridor down timeless ecstasy; instead, of course, in this mass-marketing world of consumer gullibility, we cling to the anticipation – despite all historical evidence to the contrary – that there exists a fortune-teller’s abracadabra comprising a happiness principle.

Principles are the foundational guidance for understanding the causal connections of events that occur in the objective world; first principles, as Aristotle liked to point out, are important in their revelatory powers to comprehend the operational mechanisms of this world of Being.  If you don’t know first principles, or the paradigmatic principles that operate behind the scenes – much like the Wizard behind the curtain —  then you will always only know that it happens, not why it does so.

And so we go through life, walking and wandering the streets, seeing others smiling, laughing and seeming to enjoy life, while we stew in the solitude of our private misery, perhaps outwardly attempting to feign such emotional brightness while inwardly decaying with each day’s tumult of angst and anxiety.

In minding the existence of the ‘happiness principle’, we are everyday falling into the statistical trap of that famous quip attributed to the 19th century Showman, P.T. Barnum, that there’s “a sucker born every minute.”  Even if everyday empirical evidence refutes the existential reality of such a principle, we nevertheless hope against fading hope for such a white knight in shining armor – that armor of protective fallacies based upon a nonexistent principle wrapped in the cloaking of hopes unearned and never to be attained.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are down in the dumps because of a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reality that one’s career may be cut short and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may be a necessity, must fight against the false hope that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the “be-all” and “end-all” of life’s miseries.

Medical conditions may continue to remain chronic; there will likely remain many challenges in the future; but the point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to allow for one to attain a plateau of hopefulness where one can make one’s health and well-being a priority, without necessarily minding the ‘happiness principle’ or believing in P.T. Barnum’s secret to success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Silent lives defying interpretation

Life is a mystery, and individual lives a puzzle untold.  It is the calluses that we develop throughout our lives that diminish our individual and collective curiosity to get to know the “other”.

We are born with a teleological intellect striving to unravel and unmask the depths of human essence; but modernity, technology and the singular focus of tangents often involving prurient asides distract and envelop with unwavering obsessions, but it has gotten worse:  no, not in any violent manner or upheaval of historical significance; rather, the electronic means of texting, emailing, Facebook-ing and other such means – which, if one pauses for just a moment to reflect, is merely a white page on a screen of illuminating blindness where symbols representing communicative ignorance are exchanged through the ethereal conduit of airwaves – give an artificial semblance of comfort that we are still engaging in the essential project of destined human activity:  getting to know one another.

When, in fact, the distance between words and the human touch; the distinction between the beep apprising one of receiving a message and the subtleties of an eyebrow raised, a grimace faintly made or a sparkle from eyes admiring; or the differentiation between black lettering upon a lighted page as opposed to the intonation and undulating mellifluousness of the softly spoken word – these, we are losing as each day passes, unnoticed, unconcernedly, and without any real hope of recovery.

It is, in the end, those silent lives defying interpretation which are lost forever on the doorsteps of unwritten historical accounts, despite the stories never told, the narratives forever undeclared and the characters uncharted because of the mystery of life and the conundrum of human lives.

History, it has been said, is written by “winners”; and if there is indeed truth in such a statement, then its corollary opposite must be similarly true:  unwritten and unknown accounts are forgotten or never written of those “losers”.  But that is only half of the truth; for, there are those countless bystanders who are never acknowledge, but fail to be inserted and included in the narrative of unmarked graves unacknowledged through the accounts of history untold.

We all want to be “significant”; we all want to “make a difference”; and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short a promising career, a relevant contribution to the “mission” of the Federal Agency, or make a difference to an old woman living alone who waves hello to the Letter Carrier as the high-point of her day – filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may seem like the end of that teleological journey that we are all engaged in.

But always remember that there is life after the Federal workplace, and whether you are an active Federal or Postal employee, or getting ready to take that step to initiate a Federal Disability Retirement application, there are still silent lives defying interpretation, and yours is one of them.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Common Ground

What could it possibly mean, and how did that concept ever develop?  It implicates, of course, by logical extension its very inverted context in an insidiously opposing perspective; for, in the very admission that the rarity of the shared values that have to be “sought for” and “discovered” merely reflects the wide chasm of that which does not exist.

Once upon a time, a “community” never talked about “finding” common ground, for the very shared commonality expressed the very essence of the social contract itself, such that people assumed and presumed a set of normative values that characterize the intimate nature of the collective whole.  Thus, disputes which created fissures within a tribe, a neighborhood, a town or a nation merely revealed the inconsequential rarity of such factional events; it is only when the wideness of the chasm requires expressions like, “We need to find some common ground” or the need to reach some “foundational commonality” – that is when we know that the cavern is deep, the friction tantamount to an incommensurate duality of paradigms, and the torrent of vitriol an unbridgeable gap reflecting inconsistent values.

Modernity has manifested such a state of affairs; and, perhaps it is merely an inevitable process of a developing nation, like a Hegelian dialectical fate resulting from a history of wrongs committed and evils perpetuated – from the systematic genocide of the indigenous population to the history of slavery, suspension of Habeas Corpus, a divided nation ripped by Civil War, to the internment of citizens based upon race and ethnicity; it is, indeed, division in recent times which appears to dominate, with the constant drumbeat of voices calling for the identification, recognition and discovery of “common ground”.

Laws, of course, try and protect and preserve the ground lost to lack of commonality; and such forced and compelled imposition of laws, regulations and statutory enforcement can, for a time, keep the fissures covered and the leaking faucets somewhat dry.  But always understand that the enactment of laws becomes a societal necessity only when shared normative values can no longer restrain; it is, in some respects, an admission of failure for each law that is passed to protect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the chasm between reality and theoretical construct must be faced the moment the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is informed of the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the laws concerning administrative rights of filing, the requirement for the Agency or U.S. Postal Service to attempt to provide accommodations, and the absolute right to seek Federal Disability Retirement benefits are all there; the reality is that such laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits were fought for and maintained precisely because necessity compelled the recognition that that was a fissure widening into a deep chasm concerning the common ground of common decency in how Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service would, should and must treat Federal and Postal employees with an identifiable medical condition and disability, and it was precisely because of the loss of common ground that the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits came into being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: The helpful other perspective

Before going “whole-hog” with anything in life, the greater wisdom often confirms that we should try and obtain a differing perspective on the matter, if only to affirm the correctness of our own, or to consider the fissures and weaknesses we are blind to.  Wise people seek wisdom; fools travel down roads not merely untested, but even unprepared.  Such a tautology is a mere self-evident fact of life, but we nevertheless follow blindly where the blind leads.

If an individual discounts the criticisms of everyone else, then the wisdom one holds is merely the price of one’s own mistakes, and so long as others are not required to pay for them, the pathway to disaster can be easily paved without involving the toil and anguish of others.

One may query:  assuming it is wise to seek the input of another, how does one nevertheless know that such a differing viewpoint is “helpful” at all?  What if that other perspective is even worse of a disaster than my own?  Such a question, of course, is likely asked in a vacuum; for, there are varying indicators that one may discern in seeking advice from others –  reputation; demeanor; knowledge previously revealed; capacity to listen; established specialty in a particular field, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset –  the need to seek the helpful “other” perspective is often a necessary prerequisite.

Why?

Because, when a medical condition is impacting one’s health – whether singularly physical, or mental or a combination of both – the debilitated state that one experiences often provides a skewered perspective, and that is why garnering and employing the advice of an attorney who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often a necessary component of the process.

Yes, there may well be those rare “slam-dunk” cases, whether gathering and submitting the medical records alone will obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  But, then, everyone who files a Federal Disability Retirement application believes his or her submission to be just that –  undeniable, unequivocally established, and unassailably confirmed.

Why is that?

Because the person who experiences the medical condition is the same person who is preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application – and he or she who feels the pain, presupposes that everyone else must also be able to comprehend such a state of decline.  Unfortunately, this is not the case – at least, not from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is also another one of those “other” perspectives that must be contended with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire